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Health News of Thursday, 22 December 2022


FG restates commitment to curbing harmful pesticides in foods

Pesticides Pesticides

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to reduce the negative impact of pesticides in foods, especially cowpea.

The FG stated this during the introduction of Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea named SAMPEA20T in Gombe.

The Desk Officer, Cowpea Value, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Uwem Ekomabasi, stated this on Tuesday during an Awareness programme on the newly released Cowpea Pod Bearer Resistant variety, noting that SAMPEA20T would help curb the overwhelming health challenges associated with harmful pesticides.

The event also witnessed the enlightenment of participants on the post-harvest handling techniques of cowpea by farmers in the North-East. About 50 participants received Storage bags- Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) at the event.

Ekomabasi said, “The benefit of Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea to North-East farmers is that this variety will significantly reduce the use of pesticides by the farmers and the farmers will have more yield because of continuous harvest. The income of the farmer is sure to improve.”

Also speaking, Prof. Mohammed Umar, Cowpea breeder, Head of Department, Department of Plant Science, Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria said the research into SAMPEA 20T lasted for about 11 years.

He said, “The one we are discussing today is the one that has resistance to the field insect while the other is storage insect weevil. The one that destroys the seed at the storage level but it is carried from the field to the store

“We saw the need to also address the issue of storage because people use harmful chemicals, to the environment and human beings.”

Umar explained that the SAMPEA 20T is transgenic, “it means it is a variety developed using modern technology and there is an existing problem limiting the production of cowpea in the world but it is more in Africa because of the insect called Maruca,” he said.

On his part, Abubakar Abdullahi, Director Federal Department of Agriculture, who was represented by Musa Inuwa, Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture Gombe, noted that the government is focusing on achieving food and Nutrition security through its various activities.

Abdullahi said, “the awareness will help farmers reduce the cost of production and increase their income as a very minimal insecticide is needed during production circle.”

Also, Permanent Secretary Gombe State Ministry of Agriculture Danladi Walter described the sensitisation programme as timely, saying “We have just completed harvest and what we are focusing on now is storage.”

Salisu Samao, Chairman Gombe State Cowpea Farmers Association, lauded the government for its support.

He disclosed that with the introduction of SAMPEA 20T, “diseases that come because of eating cowpea with chemicals will be reduced, now people will eat healthy beans,” Samao said.